Elissa witnessed firsthand the impact climate change had on her hometown environment: the Great Lakes didn’t freeze over, fruit trees were no longer as fruitful, and maple syrup production had declined. With an academic background in atmospheric science, Elissa decided to take action. She enacted change not only in her home country of Canada by reaching out to her peers and to government officials, but also influenced U.S. policy and participated in bilateral climate negotiations with China, Brazil, India, and Kenya as a Canadian government delegate. As a fundraiser, keynote speaker, and advocate, Smith was involved with numerous organizations, such as the Sierra Youth Coalition, Youth Environmental Network, United Nations Environmental Program, and the Canadian Youth Climate Change Conference. Her blog www.elissasmith.ca focused on environmental issues and received an average of 500 visits daily.